John Connell gave an excellent presentation at the ACE Digital Fair in Geelong last week. As always, his depth of knowledge and understanding about schooling is thought-provoking.
What struck me about John’s presentation on the Joy of Learning is the broad theory base that we draw from in re-shaping schooling for today’s world. What we are doing today in reframing schooling and making this schooling more relevant in the lives of young people draws heavily on those who have gone before. We have to be mindful of the past, not victims of it. We add to this wisdom base when we challenge existing processes and practices in both intelligent and realistic ways.
John quotes two important 20th century thinkers: social critic Ivan Ilich and educator James Darling and reveals a common thread in their approaches to learning. The true purpose of schooling is not merely educating productive workers and good citizens but the whole person; one of the dominant features that Illich and Darling recognise is the centrality of relationships and community to human identity.
In his blog, John explains that the current model of schooling (created in and for an industrial age) has has:
served to smother the spark and spontaneity that should be the constant hallmarks of good teaching and enjoyable and effective learning.
It bolsters the argument that Sir Ken Robinson makes in his book, The Element. Robinson strongly believes schools have a responsibility to provide the encouragement and conditions for students’ talents and passions to flourish. He says that most people’s talents are buried deep and unless that support is provided in the critical years of schooling, students will never discover their true talents and end up leading unfulfilled lives.
Discovering and nurturing our hidden talents really is the joy of learning. Who are the wisdom givers who shape your schooling world view?